Saturday, November 30, 2013

Can You Have Too Many Birdhouses?

We like birdhouses and birds have made their Little Bird Homes in a few we painted and have hanging in our front yard.

My daughter and I painting these little bird houses one November evening. Mine is the traditional looking one, and hers is the one with sparkle and pzazz.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Day Before Thanksgiving Day

This day, the day before Thanksgiving Day, is always my baking day.
Here is my list of things to bake:
  • Date Nut Bread {Recipe}
  • Apple Pie
  • 2 Pumpkin Pies
  • Pecan Pie
  • Key Lime Pie
Actually, my daughter always makes the Key Lime Pie.
I have pie crust for 6 one crust pies resting in the refrigerator.
The Date Nut Bread is in the oven – I am making a double batch to last through the days after Thanksgiving. The Apple Pie will go into the oven when the bread is out.

I have never put up my Christmas tree before Thanksgiving Day. However, since my children will all be here on Friday, my husband wants to decorate the tree that day. Usually I rest the day after Thanksgiving. So, to make things easier, we put up the tree yesterday. I still need to add 5 strings of colored lights before decorating it. The white lights alone look nice for Thanksgiving Day.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A light in the Darkness

I took this photo from my front porch looking into my kitchen/dinning room window. Oh how I love the quiet morning hours! Outside this morning is only a cool 46 degrees. Inside, I am cozy by my warm fire.

May you all have a wonderful Saturday!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Unforgettable Fashions

Hey there!
I have a new blog: Unforgettable Fashions.
I will be posting my drawing sketches of timeless vintage fashions. If you love the styles of the 1940s and 1950s as much as I do,  join me as I set out to find inspiring examples of feminine beauty.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blueberry Bundt Cake

First, I have to take a moment to note today's special date...
Have you noticed it was 11-12-13 today?
What a great birth-date that would be!

My daughter made this spectacular cake today. {I grated the lemon rind for her :)}
Blueberry Bundt Cake
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cupbutter or 1 cup margarine
  • 1 3/4 cupssugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cupsblueberries, tossed with
  • 2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 7-9 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • lemon zest (to garnish)

Heat oven to 350°F Butter a 12-cup bundt pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat butter (or margarine) until smooth. Add sugar and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and beat until combined. Beat in flour in three additions, alternating with sour cream. Beat for 2 minutes. Fold in blueberries. Spoon into prepared pan.

Bake at 350F for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edges of the pan. Turn out and cool completely.
Glaze: in a small bowl, mix together confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and corn syrup until smooth. Drizzle over top of cake and let it roll down the sides

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fresh Bagel, Cream Cheese &amp

My favorite way to eat a bagel.
Bake your own homemade bagels.

Veteran’s Day Celebration at Outback Steakhouse

Over a year ago, we were given a very generous gift card to Outback Steakhouse. A special dinner was in store for us, and we wanted to save it for a first-rate occasion.
Several wonderful reasons to celebrate came along, but schedules did not line up

So this evening we finally were all off work or out of class and could gather around a round table in a cozy Outback corner.

We even got 10% off the price of our meal in celebration of Veteran’s Day!

Photo proof was required:
The day we met

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Homemade Bagels

Right now I am making bagels. I always wanted to make bagels but they seemed complicated and intimidating. A friend gave me this recipe some year ago, and it has become a favorite in my home.

A kitchenAid with the dough hook makes it easy to whip up this recipe quickly.

Homemade Bagels

Begin by mixing:
  • 4 cups unbleached or bread flour
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 T. yeast

Add enough hot water to make all ingredients moist but not wet or sticky. Start with 1 1/4 cup and add up to 1/4 cup more as needed.

Knead for 10 minutes, or more if needed, until smooth.

Lay a sheet of wax paper on the counter and lightly spray with Pam at this point. Dump dough on a cutting board and cut into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a nice smooth ball. Then place on the sprayed waxed paper leaving space between balls.

Let dough rest 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes, make a hole in the center. Poke a hole through the center of the ball, gently push the edges out to make to create a donut shape. Don't worry about the hold being too big. As the bagel rises the hole will shrink.

Let bagels rest another 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°. Fill a pot about half way with water and set on the stove to boil. It should be wide and flat. Prepare baking sheets by spraying them with Pam. You will be able to fit about 6 to a standard baking sheet.

After resting period, gently flip bagel onto pancake turner and slide into boiling water. So it won’t lose its shape, you can set a pancake turner next to the bagel and then flip the bagel over onto the pancake turner.

Transfer the bagel into the water...just slide the whole thing into the water and the bagel will slip right off for you. Allow enough room for rising as they boil. You can boil 3 or 4 bagels at once. Boil 1 minute. Flip and boil 1 more minute.

Lift from pot with slotted spatula or slotted spoon and set on baking sheet.

At this point you can bake plain or add a topping.

Top your bagels with any combination of the following garnishes: poppy seeds, sesame seeds, coarse salt, or rehydrated dried onions or garlic. (Soak dried onions or garlic in water to cover for at least 1 hour before applying.) To give the bagels a nice golden color and also help the toppings stick even better, brush the top of each bagel with some egg yolk whisked up with a little water.

Bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake 10 more minutes.

Apple Pie Breakfast

Well, that apple pie that I mentioned we were going to bake yesterday? 
We finally got around to making it at 11:00 last night.
As they say, "Better late than never!"

Have yourself a joyful Sunday!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

An Afternoon Walk Along the American River

The weather was so spectacular this Saturday; we decided to get out and enjoy the fall foliage. We usually have a picnic at the college along the American River because it has such spectacular trees. However, since we already had planned for hamburger, we just bought coffee at the college.

It's the Weekend!

It is 5:15 on this lovely Saturday morning. My daughter is learning to drive, and we have been going out on Saturday mornings. We stop for coffee, and sometimes we stop and pick up a bag of those little powdered sugar doughnuts. (Oh how we enjoy those little donuts, and they are only $1.99 a bag.)

Although we don't usually leave the house until about 7:30, I like to have a time to wake up a bit and curl my hair before we leave. Having my hair curled is so important to the way I feel about myself. Oh that I had naturally curly hair.

While we are out, we will probably get candy for her new gingerbread house she is designing. She baked the gingerbread last night, so it is all ready to put together and decorate.

Later today, we plan to bake an apple pie together…the first of the season.

Hamburgers are on the menu for today’s main meal, which we usually eat around 3:00 on a typical weekend. 

Happy Weekend to YOU!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Avon Brooch ~ A Gift From My Sister

My sister sold Avon for several years, and during this time we often received Avon products for Christmas. 
She gave me this brooch Christmas 1982 or 1983. 
This post was inspired by seeing Jessica post a picture of a brooch like mine.

Homemade Gingerbread House

My Daughter is an architect. 
She designed this sweet little gingerbread house and built it without a pattern our kit. 
I think she did a spectacular job. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Five Minutes a Day for Fresh-Baked Bread

You want quick and easy no-kneading artisan bread?

This recipe makes 4 1-pound loaves. You can double or half it. I mix mine in my kitchenAid, but it can also be mixed by hand in a large bowl.
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 T. yeast
  • 1 1/2 T. salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 5 1/2 cups unbleached flour whole wheat flour to sprinkle on peel 
 Mixing and storing the dough:
1. mix the yeast and salt with the water in a 5 quart bowl.
2. Mix in remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, or kitchenAid with dough hook.
3. cover, not airtight, and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (about 2 hours) Unlike traditional artisan bread, it will not hurt the dough to sit longer than this.
4. The dough can be used immediately but it will be easier to handle if you refrigerate three hours first. It can now be put in the fridge for up to 14 days.

When you are ready to bake:
5. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (about the size of a grapefruit) piece. Dust with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered pan for 40 minutes.
6. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place an empty broiler pan on the bottom rack and adjust shelves so that they will not interfere with the dough as it rises during baking.
7. sprinkle loaf liberally with flour and slash a cross, scallop or tic-tac-toe pattern into the top, using serrated bread knife. Leave the flour in place for baking; tap some of it off before slicing.
8. Put bread in oven. Pour 1 cup HOT tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until deeply brown and firm. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in baking time.
9. Allow to cool before slicing or eating.

Recipe for the perfect Artisan Five Minute Bread

Your family is sure to love it!

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

I had Sunday’s leftover chicken, Monday’s leftover potato soup, and last Saturday’s leftover cheese biscuits.

The recipe below was my inspiration for dinner.
I chopped the chicken and placed it in the bottom of my casserole dish.
Poured the potatoes soup with chunks of cheddar cheese over the chopped chicken.
Topped it with crumbled cheese biscuits.
Last of all I poured a ½ cup of melted butter over the topping.
Lightly covered my casserole with aluminum foil, and baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Removed the foil and continued baking for 25 minutes more.

My family LOVED it!
They said that they can't wait for me to make it again. ☺

Chicken Pot Pie
  • 2 chicken breast (better with the bone)
  • 1 bag of mix frozen vegetables
  • 1 can of cream of chicken
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom (you can leave this out if you don’t like mushroom)
  • 1 box of jiffy mix corn muffin mix
  • 1 stick of butter
Bake jiffy mix corn muffin. And set aside.
Boil two chicken breast until the meat falls of the bone. Cut into small pieces.
Then mix chicken, cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, mixed vegetables and about a cup of broth from your chicken into a baking dish.
Then crumble the corn muffin over the chicken mixture, and pour melted butter over the corn muffin mix.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Or until the crust turns brown.

Friday, November 1, 2013

My Traditional Thankful Garland

The house is warm and cozy with my Thankful Garlands back up in the front windows once again.

Happy November!

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